Monday, March 7, 2011

Captains Courageous

Finished Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling. Spoiled 15 year old Harvey Cheney falls overboard from the luxury liner he and his mother are traveling to Europe on. Luckily he is spotted and pulled inside the dorey of a Portuguese fisherman named Manuel. Manuel takes him back to the schooner he works on. When Harvey has regained himself he demands to be taken to New York where his wealthy father will pay handsomely for his safe return. The Captain of the ship, Disko Troop, explains to him that that is impossible in the middle of their cod fishing voyage. Harvey behaves very badly and Troop socks him in the nose. From then on he realizes that he cannot get away with being a selfish trouble-making lay-about anymore.

Harvey is befriended by Troop's son Dan who is about the same age. Dan teaches Harvey all about life on the boat, how they fish, salt and store what they catch and what to do in the off hours. Harvey works along with Dan and feels a sense of purpose for the first time in his life. He begins to feel like a member of the community on the boat and works very hard.

This is a terrific coming of age book, laced with many good tales of the sea told by other characters. An excellent adventure.

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